.Love Acts: ‘She Loves Me’ at 6th Street

Seething drama gives way to light comedy at Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse with their production of She Loves Me.

The romantic musical comedy runs in the GK Hardt Theatre through Feb. 25.

Based on the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, She Loves Me retains the basic storyline of co-workers who detest each other being secret lonely hearts club pen pals. Audiences may recognize the plot from such film adaptations as The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. Add songs by Jerry Bock & Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) and you have a charming Broadway musical.

Under the watchful eye of Maraczek’s Parfumerie proprietor Mr. Maraczek (Garet Waterhouse), assistant manager Georg Nowak (Lorenzo Alviso) is soon butting heads with newcomer/secret correspondent Amalia Balash (Molly Larsen-Shine), much to the amusement of Georg’s co-worker and friend, Ladislav Sipos (Sean O’Brien). Meanwhile, clerk Ilona Ritter (Julianne Bretan) does battle with caddish salesperson Steven Kodaly (Drew Bolander) while plucky young delivery boy Arpad Laszlo (Tyler Ono) aims to move up in position.

Of course, everybody gets who/what they want (or deserve) by the show’s end.

Director Emily Cornelius has a very talented group of performers at work here. Alviso and Larsen-Shine are charming as the seemingly mismatched but destined-to-be-together couple who deliver strong vocal performances. Bretan and O’Brien provide strong comedic support. Bolander is pitch-perfect as the perfume counter Casanova, and Ono brings his usual youthful exuberance to his role.

Set designer Luca Catanzaro and lighting designer Carrie Mullen’s combined efforts take full advantage of the GK Hardt Theater stage, and their bright and colorful work matches the tone of the show. It’s a beautiful set warmly lit.

Costume designer Kira Catanzaro drapes the cast in sharp and snappy outfits which support and embellish their characters.

There’s not much of what one would consider “dance” in this show, but there is a whole lot of musical movement choreographed by Joseph Favalora that the ensemble executes with precise and often amusing dexterity.

Musical director Lucas Sherman deftly conducts the orchestra that sounds bigger than its six pieces. A recent grant allowing for an investment in improved sound quality at the playhouse paid off, with only minor sound level issues at the show’s opening left to be tweaked by sound designer Ben Roots.

6th Street Playhouse’s light and airy She Loves Me is the perfect theatrical antidote to a gray and dreary winter’s eve.

‘She Loves Me’ runs through Feb. 25 in the GK Hardt Theatre at 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. 6th Street, Santa Rosa. Thur-Sat, 7:30pm; Sat & Sun, 2pm. $29–$51. 707.523.4185. 6thstreeetplayhouse.com.


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